Review | 'Good Family' makes fun of the world's do-gooders

12/31/2009 4:02 PM

02/22/2010 11:52 AM

Life's not easy if you're an organic-eating, tree-hugging, SUV-eschewing, carbon-footprintless, gender-identity-indifferent, diversity-celebrating, nonjudgmental (well, except for those damn U.S. flag pins) vegan pacifist. Just ask Gerald and Helen Goode, the First Couple of PC America.

They forget to check a box when adopting an African baby, and when little Ubuntu arrives, he's a white South African. They cart home free elephant dung from Barnum & Bailey for their organic garden, then remember that the circus exploits animals. They've raised their dog Che to be a vegan, but the neighborhood sure has a lot of missing squirrels. Even their hybrid car's bumper sticker is a blend of uneasy compromises: SUPPORT OUR TROOPS . . . AND THEIR OPPONENTS.

Welcome to The Goode Family, a scathingly funny report from the front lines of America's culture wars. This new ABC adult cartoon, produced by Beavis and Butt-Head mastermind Mike Judge and his King of the Hill buddies John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky, will do for PC what 30 Rock does for corporate capitalism or Lost for commercial air travel: Leave it in ruins.

Set in a more-progressive-than-thou college town where shoppers at the supermarket gasp in horror if somebody arrives at the checkout counter without his own reusable grocery bag, The Goode Family mercilessly lampoons characters who conduct their lives by the watchword WWAGD, What Would Al Gore Do? They live in desperate fear of being caught in a political free-fire zone by the abrupt Orwellian shifts in progressive correct-think. Told the preferred term is no longer black or even African American but "people of color, " Helen sputters: "Impossible! That's just colored people in reverse! And I know that's not right!"

Worse yet, Helen's friends have persuaded her to try to bond with her teenage daughter Bliss by taking her on a birth-control shopping expedition. ("My daughter and I held each other and cried with happiness as he measured her cervix, " says one.) The rebellious Bliss instead joins a church abstinence group, pledging to keep her virginity until marriage. "Where did I go wrong?" sniffles the distraught Helen.

Though it will no doubt be labeled right-wing agitprop by some of its trashed targets, The Goode Family is not really conservative, but something closer to the barbed libertarianism of South Park. What the show is really mocking is groupthink conformity -- some of the funniest bits in the opening episode concern the creepy sexual-abstinence group, where teenage girls "marry" their fathers.

But when ridiculing conformity these days in Hollywood, where late-night comics are afraid to tell Obama jokes, most of your targets will necessarily be left of center. And The Goode Family is fearless in firing at them. When Gerald, a college administrator, tells his boss his department needs more funding to improve the percentage of minority employees, the boss replies: "Or we could just fire three white guys. Everybody wins!"

How long do you think it will be before we hear a joke like that from Jay or Dave?

Join the Discussion

Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service